Carolin Barr, Founder of susGain
German expat Carolin Barr first moved to Singapore in 2009, when she was hired by a German company, Arvato Digital Services. She later left Singapore in 2013 for the US and then Netherlands, when her husband’s job required them to do so. She eventually moved back to Singapore in 2016.
“I was impressed by the changes that had happened,” recalls Carolin, who has since become a permanent resident here. “There were new MRT lines, new shopping malls. Yet, on the sustainability side, it felt to me like it was going backwards.” Carolin recounts that food courts, cafes and even restaurants were still using single-use containers instead of reusable tableware. “I had a hard time finding places where
I could recycle things, or where to refill our water bottles on the go,” says Carolin, now a mum of 6-year- old Emilia, with her husband, Jeebaretnam.
Discussions with friends and family made her realise that many people in Singapore were struggling to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, whether because of inconvenience, the expense of eco-friendly options or a lack of knowledge about how to get started. This realisation led her to develop susGain, a reward app that allows people to accumulate points to get cashback, make donations to charity and even plant trees!
Since its soft launch in June 2020, susGain has onboarded more than 120 eco- and socially- conscious online and offline merchants, such as The Green Collective and Crust. It has also garnered a user base of 3,700 users and supports six charities. As judge Tiffany Okumu comments about susGain, “It is an innovative solution to making a bigger collective impact on fighting climate change.”
What would Carolin want to do if she weren’t running her business in Singapore? “I’d run it elsewhere in the world,” she says. “Sustainability is here to stay and I’m passionate about finding innovative solutions to help fight climate change.”
Started in 2017 by The Finder, the Expatpreneur Awards are intended to honour hard-working, successful, community-minded foreign-born business owners in Singapore. All winners must exhibit how their businesses help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s own mission. This year, marks the fifth annual awards. Find out more here.
By Jasia Shamdasani